|Title:||Class of 2009|
One hundred tackles is a high number for a football player in any season. Linebacker Jon Pires achieved this rare feat each of his fours years at WPI.
As a freshman in 1996, Pires was second on the team with 110 tackles as he totaled 36 solo stops and 74 assists. His 7.5 tackles-for-loss and four forced fumbles helped the Engineers to a home shutout win over Westfield State and a Transit Trophy road victory over RPI.
His sophomore season saw his jersey number decrease from 99 to 9 and his tackles increase to a team-high 113. Pires added three pass break-ups, notched 8.5 tackles-for-loss (including a sack) and recovered a fumble as the Engineers doubled their win total from the year before. He anchored a defense that allowed a combined 9 points in November home victories over Western Connecticut and Plymouth State.
In 1998 Pires was recognized as one of the top linebackers in the entire east region. He totaled a career-best 124 tackles, including an impressive 16.5 stops-for-loss. He also caused three fumbles, broke up a pair of passes, and was credited with a sack. At the conclusion of the season, he was honored with first-team Freedom Football Conference accolades and ECAC New England All-Star honors.
As a senior, Pires helped the Engineers post their first winning season in five years. The Pires-led defense did not allow a touchdown as the Engineers went on the road and defeated highly touted Union 7-3. Other wins included rivalry victories over Worcester State, Kings Point, Norwich, and Coast Guard. He ended the 1999 season with a team-high 118 tackles, including a career-best seven sacks. For the second year in a row, Pires totaled 16.5 tackles-for-loss and earned first-team Freedom Football Conference and ECAC New England all-star awards.
"Jon Pires was the best linebacker that I have ever had the pleasure of coaching in my fourteen years of college football, said former defensive coordinator and current head Salve Regina coach Chris Robertson. "Jon was the most ferocious, strongest, quickest, instinctive, and intelligent linebacker that ever suited up for the Engineers."
Pires career totals are simply jaw-dropping. He amassed a total of 465 tackles, including 49 stops for loss. Pires helped in other ways as well, by registering 8 career pass breakups and recovering 7 fumbles.
"Jon was everything you would look for in an inside linebacker," commented head football coach Ed Zaloom. "He had a great nose for the football, and he would arrive at the ball in a "nasty" fashion. At the same time he was extremely athletic, and he could cover a great deal of ground. He was effective in playing the pass and in pursuing the run from sideline to sideline. Most important, he loved the game, he loved the contact, and he relished intense competition!"
Pires, a native of Stoughton, Mass., graduated in 2000 with a degree in mechanical engineering. His success at WPI was not limited to the gridiron as he earned a Thurgood Marshall Scholarship. Currently a production manager for Cameron Valves and Measurement, Pires and his wife, Jennifer, live in Middleboro with their children, Jenna and Jalen.